Social media’s given me the gift of connecting with friends from many years ago, and in this instance – over 20 years ago. I met Rachel Skelton…well, it must have been in junior high school. We were thick as thieves through high school and there are plenty of photos to the effect.
Her sister RaLynn was brutally murdered by her boyfriend in 1992, a year after Rachel and I graduated from high school. It was surreal to hear from my friend – one of my best friends – that her sister had been murdered and her body placed in the trunk of her car and set to burn in the middle of a field…all of this in our hometown of Houston, Texas.
If you find her story touches you in ANY way, find a moment in your day to send a letter to the Texas Department of Corrections to ensure that this man stays behind bars. He’s up for parole.
I find it pathetic that she and her family will have to endure this process every two years. If you believe that a man who murdered his girlfriend and then burned her remains and car in the middle of a field should be kept behind bars (where he belongs) – please let your voice be heard.
I write for a living. But there are some things that my words cannot express. Therefore, below you’ll find Rachel’s words (follow her on Twitter @RachelSMD). While the bold emphasis in some sections is my own, the content is purely hers.
Hello friends and family,
I am sending you this urgent request.
Please help me keep a murderer in jail. I have attached a very long an extremely personal and emotion letter that I wrote 2 years ago in my efforts to keep my sister’s murderer in jail. She was murdered by her boyfriend in 1992. Many of you probably remember the situation. We were successful that time but we received word this week that he is being reviewed again for parole. It is normal for convicted criminals in our system to obtain the right for parole after serving only ¼ of their sentence and then they get reviewed every 2 years thereafter for another chance to get out and walk free. The address, fax number and email is listed below if you would like to send a letter on our behalf requesting he not be released. Once again this information is very personal and it is a long story. You may not even want to read it. I cry when I have to think about this and I have not written my new letter yet since I received my notification last week. If you do decide to mail, fax or email a note in protest of his release, I would like to thank you in advance for your time and efforts. Be sure to include the convict’s name, state ID and TDCJ ID in your letter. It does not have to be long protest, a few short sentences will do. Thanks for reading this.
Send letters of protest to:
Victim Services Division
8712 Shoal Creek Blvd.
Austin, Texas 78757-6899
Re: Rex Andrew Alexander
State ID # 04433725
TDCJ ID # 00648577
Below is Rachel’s letter to the Victim Services Division from two years ago:
I knew that these parole hearings would soon be forthcoming, but when we received the letter last week and it became real, I was overcome with grief and then anger. I was also scared. We were provided this information 3 months into the parole process. What if we were never informed of these proceedings? Even worse, what if he gets out? Rex Andrew Alexander, the murderer who took my sister from me, is being considered for release. I am sick. The thought of his possibly being released causes me a great deal of pain. It has taken me over a week to write this because it is too emotional and difficult to see through the tears that begin to fall immediately from my eyes.
We knew him as Andy, and I will refer to him as such in this letter.
I cannot believe that a person who has the capacity to commit such horrific crimes can be rehabilitated. There is no such thing for those that murder. Andy killed my sister. Andy disposed of her body by hiding it in the trunk of her own car then left her in that trunk and dumped the car in a field. Andy returned later to set her body, and then the car on fire. This is the calculated actions of a very sick man that feels nothing. He obviously does not know right from wrong. Andy never once showed an ounce of remorse during the entire ordeal 13 years ago. Rex Andrew Alexander does not deserve a second chance. RaLynn does not get a second chance at life. I will never get to see my sister again. I will never get to talk to her again. She will never have a family of her own. My children will never know her. I miss her terribly. I cannot stop crying as I write this. It would simply be unjust to allow Andy the things he denied to my sister RaLynn. He took her away from us and it is so unfair. Andy’s family can visit him, write to him, hear his voice. I will never, get those opportunities with my sister. Never again!!
The last time I saw my sister she was on her way to work. She told us she was going to stop by Andy’s house. He had called and wanted some things that she had. We never got to see her again. She did not make it to work. We reported her missing and everyone was worried for the next few days. That worry turned to terror when we were awakened by the police one morning around 3:30 a.m. RaLynn’s car was found ablaze in a field with a charred body in the trunk. The police officer held out his hand. When he opened it, he held my sister’s jewelry in his palm. I crumbled into the arms of my husband, who immediately extended his leave from active Naval duties. I was 19 years old. My mother was out of town. I had to deal with this. It turns out that RaLynn was so badly burned that even the dental records I had to drop off at the coroner’s office were insufficient in the identification process. It was the jewelry that was taken from her body that provided the positive identification – that, and the confession that was later taken from Andy.
After the police left, I drove to Cleveland to get my grandparents to help me since my Mom was out of town on a previously scheduled business trip. They came to my house along with many other family members. Later that day, Andy joined us in our home. He walked around yelling angry words in the air, swearing he would find out who did this. He sat at the kitchen table. He put his arms around my Granny and Paw Paw acting as though he could console them. He ate at our table and then less than 24 hours later confessed to the murder of my sister while being questioned at the police station. How dare he come into our home, accept our hospitality, talk to me and my family, eat at my table. He was probably laughing at us the whole time. I am sickened that he entertained himself at my home in that way. He is a monster. I feel nauseous just writing this and still cry when I have to talk about it.
My parents are divorced. My father went into a deep depression due to this situation. He was an alcoholic and then became a sick alcoholic, unable to work or function. Because he lived alone, he had a very difficult time coping with the loss of his daughter. He became more reclusive and withdrawn and is still that way.
Additionally, we were forced to worry about the stress on my younger sister Roxann, who was due to deliver her baby within days of this news. Luckily she delivered a healthy baby boy. His name is Justin Tyler Alexander. This child is related by blood to the man who murdered my sister RaLynn. I have two sisters, RaLynn and Roxann. They were dating brothers – twins. This forever ties us to Andy’s family. It is very difficult to see Justin’s family and not think of Andy and what he did. We will never be able to have a normal relationship with Justin’s father’s family. An additional thing Andy has stolen from us, and an innocent, then unborn, child. This entire situation is totally unfair to Justin. We were sickened by the fact that Justin’s father would take him to the jail to see his uncle. Because of Andy there has been stress in the relationship between Justin’s mom and dad. I do not even want to imagine the strain that would occur if Andy is set free. The trauma Justin could be subjected to will be totally unfair. He is a child and does not have the ability to avoid this murderer, especially if he is visiting with his father. I wonder if Andy will see the resemblance that Justin shares with his Aunt RaLynn. Would Andy mistreat his nephew if he reminds him of RaLynn? Will he hurt him too? Will he come after one of us? I will fear for myself, my family, and my own children.
RaLynn had recently acquired a night job, so that she could care for Roxann’s newborn. She planned to take care of the new baby during the day while Roxann finished high school. RaLynn and Roxann were inseparable. RaLynn was so excited about being an Aunt. We had just had a baby shower for Roxann. RaLynn totally planned it and couldn’t wait for delivery day. RaLynn was murdered 9 days prior to the birth of her nephew. She never even got to see him. Roxann had a difficult time the following semester having to acquire a job to pay for daycare so that she could finish school and provide for him. She did not get the help she deserved from her baby’s father since we were caught up in legal proceedings concerning this murder. It hurt her too deeply to see the father of her baby, to fight in front of her child, because her child’s uncle killed our sister. Andy also burned our car. We did not have money to replace that car. This left Roxann with no transportation.
The night my sister was murdered, before she left to go work, we were discussing my upcoming wedding ceremony. RaLynn had formerly been in choir and I wanted her to sing in my wedding. We were discussing what songs she might like to sing and during what part of the ceremony she could do it. We never got to finish that conversation. Six months later, as I stood at the altar reciting my wedding vows, looking over at my friends and family, I could not help but notice the empty spot where she should have been standing. Friends of my husband sang during our ceremony. I was thinking, I wish my sister was singing right now. When I look at the pictures of my family she is not there. She is supposed to be there. RaLynn did not get to see me get married. She did not get to stand with me. She did not get to see her nephew be born. She did not get the chance to get married herself or have the babies she wanted to have. She did not get to do so many things we had planned for our futures. Andy took all that away from us.
As I sit here writing this, crying, my daughter who is 7 asks me, “Mom, why are you crying?” I have to explain to her again that I am upset and miss her Aunt RaLynn. The aunt she will never know. She asks me again, “Why did Andy kill our Aunt RaLynn?” I tell her that there are just some very bad people in this world and that we are safe from him, he is locked up in jail. She says, “Don’t be sad Mom.” Now I am crying more. I wish my daughters could meet her. I hope to never have to explain to her why he is not in jail.
If Andy is released I will feel sick and disappointed in our system. He is a danger to our family and to society as a whole. Please do not release him from jail. Andy deserves no less than to serve his full punishment, which is much shorter than the punishment everyone who knows RaLynn will be subjected to. The short time in jail in no way compares to the lifetime we will be forced to live without our sister, friend, etc…